Homes Flew Off the Market at Record Pace in July

by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 22, 2021

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A family of four, arm in arm, look at a house with a "Sold" sign.

Image source: Getty Images

Homes sold quickly last month -- and that's not great for buyers.

It's no secret that the housing market has favored sellers for well over a year. And the speed at which homes are flying off the market reflects that.

In July, it took an average of 23 days to sell a home from the time it was listed, according to Remax's National Housing Report. That's down from an average of 24 days in June and 44 days one year prior. It also marks the fastest movement of homes off the market since Remax started tracking that data back in early 2009.

Having homes sell quickly is great for the people who list those properties. The faster a home sells, the sooner a seller gets to collect the proceeds from that sale. But for buyers, rapidly selling homes signal a tough housing market. And that's why some buyers may want to hit pause on their home searches today.

It's a difficult time to buy

Right now, buyers face their share of challenges in the housing market. For one thing, there's a very limited supply of available homes. Many sellers have held off on listing properties during the pandemic, so in the absence of more inventory, buyers have to duke it out over the same few properties.

The result? Bidding wars are popping up all over the housing market, driving property prices up. And buyers are also moving very quickly when homes are available.

In a normal housing market, a buyer might check out an open house and wait a few days to make an offer. In today's market, that same buyer may need to submit an offer within an hour of that open house to have a shot at actually getting to purchase the home in question.

It's for this reason that buyers today may want to put their home searches on pause and wait for more inventory to hit the market before moving forward. Buying a home is an important decision -- one that shouldn't be rushed. And the fact that buyers are hustling to make offers signifies that some could end up in over their heads.

Right now, a major lack of inventory is forcing many buyers to pay more than what they can comfortably afford. And that puts them at risk of falling behind on their mortgages.

Now the tricky thing is that we don't know when more homes will start to hit the market. The current inventory gap can generally be explained by seller hesitancy due to economic uncertainty and pandemic-related concerns. While the economy has improved over the past year, the pandemic is still raging, especially now that the highly-transmissible Delta variant has taken over. And so sellers may continue to hold off on listing properties until things settle down.

As long as inventory remains limited, homes will likely continue to fly off the market at a record pace. And buyers who decide to wait things out may end up benefiting from more options and fewer rushed decisions down the line. They may also end up paying a lot less for their homes -- and not overextending themselves in the process.

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